Kat 600x450Post written by Kat McDaniel, Chief Innovator at MEDiAHEAD | Marketing Portal Guru | Variable Data Promoter | Analytics Advocate | Explorer

We are seeing 1:1 printing or “print personalization” more and more places these days.

Direct mail.

Follow-up marketing collateral.

Information kits.

What’s the real deal with these applications? Do they really live up to the hype? Or is personalization just a gimmick to get marketers to buy more print?

Consider the way you’re being marketed to:

When you shop online, cookies follow your every move so that page views can be customized to your preferences and purchase patterns.

At the grocery store, your receipt is printed with coupons based on the items you put into your bag.

When you receive mail from your investment broker, it contains information only on those funds you have invested in or that are relevant to you.

Personalization has become so ingrained in our consumer experience that we barely realize it anymore.

printingIt’s not a gimmick. It’s what customers expect.

What about cost? Isn’t personalization a high-cost luxury?

On the contrary, when handled properly, the opposite is true.

1:1 printing optimizes your marketing investment by not mailing irrelevant information to the wrong people. It makes every record count.

Properly tracked, 1:1 printing provides provable ROI, so you can compare its value against other marketing methods and justify your spending based on real numbers.

By focusing on specific customer segments and generating higher response rates and per-order values from those customers, you can spend less on print and bring in more revenue.

More relevant communications (newsletters, bills and other correspondence) increase customer retention and provide a benefit difficult to quantify yet with real bottom-line benefits.

From this perspective, 1:1 printing seems less like a luxury and more like a business necessity!

Kat 600x450Post written by Kat McDaniel, Chief Innovator at MEDiAHEAD | Marketing Portal Guru | Variable Data Promoter | Analytics Advocate | Explorer

Quick! Name a soft drink.

Chances are you thought of Coke or Pepsi. These beverage giants have spent millions in advertising. Why?

Because they have a goal of being top of mind among consumers from age five to ninety-five. And they’ve been very successful at doing it.

Top-of-mind-awareness (or TOMA) is a traditional measure of marketing effectiveness. It strongly correlates to brand preference, which correlates to increased market share.

Here are five ways to achieve “top of mind” awareness in your product marketplace:

1. Find your unique selling proposition.
Consider what makes your company special. Is it market niche? Exceptional service? Highly targeted products and services? Clearly articulate this to your prospects. Make this value proposition simple and easy to remember.

2. Be proactive.
While a one-time advertising blitz can get your message out quickly to a large number of prospects, TOMA requires a drip marketing approach — a consistent delivery of messaging over time. Keep it coming.

top of mind3. Use consistent branding.
Everything from your customer literature to your e-newsletters should have consistent messaging and similar look and feel. One brand, one message.

4. Use multiple touches and multiple channels.
Stay in front of your audience using multiple channels over time. Awareness is based on repetition.

5. Be useful.
Frequency doesn’t have to mean being annoying. You want your customers to perceive you as a provider of useful information rather than an intrusive pest. Communicate frequently, but give your audience genuine value each time.

Never before have consumers had so many choices. TOMA should be a top goal of your marketing efforts.

It will help customers notice you in a noisy marketplace, all while increasing customer retention and response rates.

Kat 600x450Post written by Kat McDaniel, Chief Innovator at MEDiAHEAD | Marketing Portal Guru | Variable Data Promoter | Analytics Advocate | Explorer

At MEDiAHEAD there’s practically a museum, or I guess I like to think of it as a gallery, of lovely, old doll heads that I’ve collected over the years.

Doll heads with sleepy eyes, staring glass eyes, porcelain faces, mops of hair and with no hair at all.

I think of them as art with the beautiful patina of age.

If they’re too nice, I don’t buy them. I like the ones that are cracked, paint chipped and tattered. Some child loved these dolls into the piece of art that they’ve become in their old age.

But one of the more relatively recent ways we relate to dolls is as strange objects of – and this is a totally scientific term – creepiness.

A fear of dolls does have a proper name, pediophobia, classified under the broader fear of humanoid figures and related to pupaphobia, a fear of puppets. I personally do not like ventriloquist dummies with their creepy fixed grins.

Doll CabinetDolls inhabit this area of uncertainty because they look human, but we know they’re not.

Our brains are designed to read faces for intentions, emotions and potential threats.

Even though we know that a doll isn’t likely a threat, seeing a face that looks human, but isn’t, unsettles our most basic instincts.

When designers come to MEDiAHEAD they love to look at the doll heads and outsider art that I also collect.

They appreciate the quirkiness and whimsical nature of them.

My children and employees…not so much. One employee told me that, although my doll heads look dead with empty eyes, they give the eery impression that they’re going to move.

I recently saw a photo that someone posted on Facebook of a cabinet of doll heads. Her response to all the negativity was this:

“Your poor, poor friends. How sad it would be to live a world where everyone likes the same food, pieces of art and styles. Open up your mind a bit – people find beauty in all kinds of things. All of these negative comments make me sad. And for the record, I have not murdered anyone and fed them to my poodles.”

My sentiments exactly.
Doll Heads

Post Author: Carey Rich

The number of women-owned businesses in the US in 2017: 11.6 million, employing 9 million and generating 1.7 trillion in sales.

Women-owned firms account for 39% of all privately held firms and contribute 8% of employment and 4.2% of revenues.

The number of businesses owned by women in the US has more than doubled in 20 years and Kansas City is the 7th best US metro area for women to own a business.

Kat McDaniel, Chief Innovator at MEDiAHEAD, began her career in print sales in 1980. At the time, she was the only female within the large web-printing company she worked for.

Kat 600x450One of the reasons she was successful was because being a woman helped differentiate her at that time. When she worked with women buyers….they treated each other as equals.

Twenty-eight years ago Kat and her husband moved to Kansas City and bought a company called Fine Print, a printer that was closing because the owner was going to jail for counterfeiting.

Six years ago MEDiAHEAD split off from ColorMark as a separate company and she began to venture out into the world as MEDiAHEAD’s true decision maker.

There was always a struggle over the years getting vendors and other printers to acknowledge her because women in printing were rare.

When I asked Kat what her biggest obstacle has been with regard to being a woman-owned business, the first thing she mentioned was financing.

The second obstacle has been finding employees who respected her for being a woman leader in a traditionally male business.

The industry has changed considerably in the last 30 years – there are many female salespeople that work in the printing industry, but still very few owners.

To this day, Kat is a well-respected leader in the Kansas City community and attributes her success to tenacity. She considers her greatest success the employees who work with her and the clients who have developed into sincere and meaningful friendships.

Michael JohnsonPost Author: Michael Johnson, Senior Project Manager

I’ve often thought about what makes people want to work with you and the company you represent.

I’m sure it has a lot to do with the company you work for and its reputation, but I can’t help to think it’s more because of YOU.

All the education and hard work you’ve put in over the years has made you an expert in your field, but there’s a bit more to it than that.

Maybe it has something to do with all of the things you do on a daily basis to take care of those customers…the “behind the scenes” kinds of things…the customer service component that not everyone has.

Over the years I’ve read many articles explaining great customer service. Here are a five that consistently stick out to me:


I was taught early in my career that you have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Many of us, with all of our years of experience, sometimes think we know exactly what the client is going to ask for and have already determined a plan of action.

I’ve gone down that path before and it doesn’t always work. You have to fully listen to your client and everything they’re presenting to you before you can find the best solution for them. Every client is unique and being able to look at it from their point of view is an essential part of providing great customer service.


Being honest is built into great customer service. Let your clients know what you’re dealing with internally…or with an outside supplier…and what you’re doing to complete your project on time and on budget.


This is often a fine line. You don’t want to overload your customer with all the minor details, but sharing some key items could be beneficial.

Just be honest and let them know what you can and can’t do. Honesty isn’t always easy, but it’s always appreciated.


Every project and every client can throw you curveballs. Anticipate the potential risks of a project and offer several options when presented with a problem or situation that needs your input.


Communication is so important in all aspects of dealing with your customers and the projects they’ve hired you to execute. Communication goes both ways.

It’s important you have good, quality input from your client (there’s that LISTENING thing again), discuss the project’s life in detail from start to finish, discuss any snags you run into along the way, and determine if it will change or delay the end result.


ALWAYS do what you say you will do. If you say you will call, email, come by for a quick meeting, or deliver something by a certain date, DO IT. Sometimes that means putting in extra time and effort, but being reliable is one of the most important aspects of creating great customer service experiences.

These are just a few of my “go to’s” when providing great customer service for my clients and the projects they trust me with. The more I execute on these principles, the more trust I build, and the better the relationships grow.

What about you? What are your keys to providing great customer service? Share your comments below.